Chair’s Strategic Message
At Sarah C’s memorial we were reminded of the blessing: ‘Go forth into the world in peace. Be of good courage. Hold fast that which is good…’
Little has changed at Hanford since it was founded in 1947 because it is so good.
Hanford remains an independent, single-sex, prep-school for girls aged 7-13.
For nearly 75 years, Hanford Girls have been achieving academic, scholarship and sporting success with the education and facilities that the School provides, and they continue to do so. Accordingly, the Governors do not intend to extend the facilities beyond what is needed to fulfil the aims and ethos of the School.
The Governors believe that financial resources are best directed to maintaining and enhancing teaching standards, as well as a programme of refurbishment of the existing school buildings and facilities. To achieve this the site has been fully surveyed and there is a rolling 5 year plan for material repairs and refurbishment to the core estate. The programme of works commenced in 2019 with extensive repairs to the roof of the main house followed by a comprehensive refurbishment of the western elevation in 2020. In 2021 repairs started to the roof of the stables.
Since the appointment of the Head in 2014 over £1 million has been spent on extensive refurbishment to the fabric of existing buildings, including electrics and plumbing, to secure the future of the site for a further 75 years. In line with the school’s fee philosophy this has been funded largely out of the school’s own financial resources including donations, Sarah Canning’s generous legacy and a CBILS loan. Despite the recent challenges caused by enforced closures the school has managed to continue with its rolling capital expenditure and refurbishment programme and in the summer of 2021 started converting the north arm of the stables into a new Art facility. This is being funded by donations to our fundraising campaign, Hanford140. The project will be completed in summer 2022.
The School has robust pupil numbers, is full in years 7 & 8, and usually finishes each academic year at full capacity. The aim is to start the academic year at full capacity with even distribution of numbers across all year groups. The School has free reserves of c.£800k in investments and cash which will ensure that investment in the estate can continue without impacting fees.
Hanford does not increase its fees annually. Fees pay for operating costs and are increased only when wage inflation dictates. Site refurbishment is funded from our own cash resources supplemented where possible by grants and donations. This means there is no frivolous investment and gives parents reason to be confident on the outlook for fees as they enrol their pupils.
The Governors believe there is the opportunity to differentiate Hanford from its competitors through:
• a commitment to keeping fees as low as possible
• demonstrating fee security over time
• providing a unique offering for day girls, who get their own bed and the full range of pastoral support offered to boarders
As an important aspect of its charitable status, Hanford is committed to its Public Benefit agenda, which includes the provision of transformational bursaries (in accordance with our Charitable Objects) to girls from the Okeford Benefice, the opening up of School facilities & events to the wider community and a growing partnership with the local primary school.